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Human Head on the Wall

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Sometimes it is not enough to merely stalk and kill your targets (including Hunting the Most Dangerous Game). Sometimes you want to have a permanent memento. So what better way to preserve the moment than to decapitate your victim, flense the skin off the head, preserve it, re-affix it to the skull, mount it on a plaque and hang it on your den wall?

A favourite pastime of Serial Killers and Egomaniac Hunters, though it also tends to happen to them as a form of Laser-Guided Karma.

Includes intelligent non-humans in sci-fi/fantasy works.

A Sub-Trope of Off with His Head!, Dead Guy on Display, Taxidermy Is Creepy and Creepy Souvenir. If the victim was a Worthy Opponent, then you also have a Battle Trophy. Compare Decapitation Presentation, which is usually a bit more informal; and Shrunken Head, which is the primitive tribal equivalent of this trope. May cross over with Losing Your Head if said head is still alive by some means: which can be Played for Drama as a fate of And I Must Scream, or alternatively Played for Laughs as a Major Injury Underreaction.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (2018):
    • The opening issue of Hunted has Kraven seated beneath a wall with multiple animal-themed heroes and villains mounted on walls like trophies.
    • The cover of Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: The Chameleon Conspiracy shows the Chameleon holding Spider-Man's mask while sitting in front of a wall covered with Latex Perfection masks of various Spider-Man characters, hung in a way that evokes this trope. This is likely a nod to the fact that Chameleon and Kraven are brothers.
  • In Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, Jane Doe kills and dismembers Dr. Anne Carver to steal her identity. She hides most of Dr. Carver's body parts in Dr. Freeze's chamber to preserve them as Borrowed Biometric Bypass, but hides her skull behind a decorative mask hanging in her office.
  • Batman: There's a rather famous piece of comic book artwork drawn by Brian Bolland featuring the Joker lounging in a chair in front of a trophy wall mounted with the decapitated heads of various DC heroes and villains, all of them painted white and their faces distorted into a smile like the Joker himself. It's even been parodied a bunch of times with other comic supervillains sitting in Joker's place.
  • In one early Cattivik story, the titular character sneaks into the mansion of an eccentric old baron who was a prolific tiger hunter and now that he's retired he's taken the hobby to hunt down thieves and criminals who break into his house and mount their heads on a wall and tries to do the same to Cattivik. Played for laughs by the end of the story, where Cattivik's head is seen mounted on the wall... but since the baron's butler accidentally died during the hunt, he has hired Cattivik as the new butler and the trophy thing is part-time.
  • This cover of Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition #2 shows Sela with the head of The Krampus mounted on the wall behind her.
  • A Marvel Universe villain takes the name Zodiac and kills every single member of a team by the same name before mounting their heads on his wall.
  • Sub-Mariner: In his run, John Byrne introduced a corporate villainess named Headhunter, who had the heads of former business execs mounted on her wall, and each head was able to talk and provide Headhunter with information about their corporations. In a twist, it's revealed that her victims were never beheaded; their bodies were tied up on the other side of her office wall, with the heads poking out of holes in her wall, in a hypnotic state so they would surrender any information she asked of them.
  • In Sin City, serial killer Kevin mounted the severed heads of six of the prostitutes he's murdered and eaten on plaques and hung them on the wall. This may have been inspired by the already creepy as hell "Stuffed" Girl's Heads ad.
  • In the Teen Titans relaunch, Deathstroke is possessed by his son Jericho, who murders Slade's loyal butler Wintergreen and mounts his head on a wall.
  • A variant occurs in the EC Comics Vault of Horror story "Hook, Line, and Stinker!" where the victim is not a hunter but a fisherman — or so he says. When he claims to be out fishing, he's actually out cheating on his fiancée, and when she finds out she kills him and mounts his entire body on a plaque on the wall like a fishing trophy.
  • Wonder Woman (2011): After Lennox's murder, and Artemis tossing his head back to his friends to taunt them, Hera is so detached from humanity that she thinks the respectful thing to do is place his head (which does not decay due to his powers) in a prominent place on the center of the mantle.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Kim Possible fanfic Dead Man Switch, Warmonga shows Ron the severed head of Kim that's mounted on the wall. She taunts Ron further by patting Kim's head in front of him. They also mount the heads of the 15 girls taken to Lorwardia every year.
  • Infinity Crisis: In Powers and Marvels, the Mandarin mounts Trevor Slattery's head on a wall in punishment for impersonating him.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Cat City, Gatto, the cat mob boss, has mounted cat heads on his wall.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • In the Fighting Fantasy book Legend of Zagor, you can come across Mungo's trophy room — a single bare room displaying four preserved heads of former victims of the Bone Demon's takeover of the fortress, respectively belonging to a court jester, a viscount, a duke, and a castellan. If you have enough magic points, you can try to summon one of their ghosts through the decapitated heads, although the results may vary note .

  • Diogenes Club: In "Swellhead'', a corridor in the Elaborate Underground Base is lined with the mounted heads of Swellhead's enemies and others who mistreated him in earlier years. Stacy is disturbed to discover when she returns to the base that Kydd's head has been added to it.
  • Discworld's The Fifth Elephant:
    • Overlaps with What Measure Is a Non-Human? when Sam Vimes' group stays at a lodge in Uberwald and is horrified to find a mounted troll head. The troll in his squad is familiar enough with Fantastic Racism from humans that he simply remarks that he's glad things are better than they used to be — and shows them his grandmother's human Skull Cup as a reminder that it cut both ways.
    • Vimes meets a local werewolf clan in their pack leader's castle, and notices there are empty nails and patches of paler plaster on the wall around them, suggesting several hunting trophies have been taken down so as not to impede the smooth flow of diplomacy. Later in the book, he learns about The Game, where werewolves hunt down humans.
  • Steampunk Egomaniac Hunter Lord Cockswain massacres the rare game of Venus in Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory. At the end of his illustrated journal, we see Cockswain's living room full of their mounted heads, including his alien Native Guide.
  • The Enemy. In the third book in the series, the Collector makes Olivia's severed head into the centrepiece for a macabre collection of body parts.
  • Excession. The human ambassador to the Affront notes a couple of human heads far up on the wall, and wonders if the failure to cover them up is meant as an insult towards him or a sign of respect.
  • A variation in Great Expectations: Jaggers has masks of the petrified faces of criminals that he represented but who were hanged decorating his office.
  • One of the many ghastly customs of the Black family of dark wizards in Harry Potter was to have their house elves beheaded and their heads mounted like trophies once they'd become too old and sick to work. Kreacher's mother was among the victims of this practice.
    • Because of the massive amounts of Happiness in Slavery that's been ingrained into the minds of house elves, Kreacher says he considers this to be a great honor.
  • Princess Mombi in Return to Oz is actually a Composite Character; she's comprised of the sorceress Mombi in book two, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and Princess Langwidere in the third Oz book, Ozma of Oz. Despite her display cabinet of thirty interchangeable heads, Langwidere isn't considered an actual villain; though it's never explained where the heads came from, each one affects her personality, implying that they came from living women. For example, Head no. 17, considered the most beautiful head, has 'a terrible temper hidden somewhere underneath the black hair'.
  • Turned up to eleven in A Practical Guide to Evil: the Tower in Praes has an entire hallway of perfectly preserved heads of people that turned against the tower/the current ruler. When you go through the hallway, they scream.
  • Vasquez Private Eye ends with Johnson mounting Martha's head on his bedroom wall.
  • Wish and Bodkin find an entire room full of decapitated heads in The Wizards of Once.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Adam Ruins Everything, the "Economy" episode begins with a man who has several hunting trophies. Adam makes his appearance as a head mounted on the wall, and the Guest of the Week responds with...
    Hank: Did I kill a man?
  • The first photoshoot of Cycle 19 of America's Next Top Model had the hopeful models stick their heads through a wooden plaque mounted to a hole in the wall in order to portray this.
  • Variant in Choujin Sentai Jetman. In his final episode, Tranza shoots 4 of the 5 Jetman with a rifle that turns them into plaques on his wall. They get freed by an Enemy Mine between Ryu and Radiguet.
  • CSI: "Leapin' Lizards". They found a missing woman's head mounted on the wall like a trophy animal. She was murdered by UFO believers who were convinced she was a Reptilian queen.
  • Get Smart. Maxwell Smart has an Oh, Crap! moment when the Villain of the Week is into Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, and has a plaque already set up for Max's head.
  • The fate of the Minotaur at the hands of the Custodians of the Chronology in an altered timeline in Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Night Gallery episode "Clean Kills and Other Trophies". When an evil trophy hunter forces his son to kill a deer, he is punished by African tribal gods. He is killed and his head is mounted on the trophy wall in his own house.
  • Parodied in Raising Hope with a novelty Sabrina has on the wall in her house. It has the usual "plaque" part of a hunting trophy, only instead of a deer head, it has a pair of breasts wearing a coconut bra, and a button on the bottom which plays "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" and makes the breasts jiggle when pressed. Burt asks her if it's for sale, and she says no...but he somehow gets it anyway. All the men in town come by to watch it, until Virginia questions what kind of example this is setting for Hope, and Burt sees Hope holding her stacking cup toys to her chest and has an Imagine Spot of her at age 20 as a stripper dancing to a cover of "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," and decides to get rid of it.


    Newspaper Comics 
  • One Dilbert strip had Dilbert and Dogbert visiting a guy who had a bunch of creepy hunting trophies on his wall. They leave when he gets to his (former) neighbors.
  • One strip from the old Moon Mullins had a character find a taxidermy section in a department store, and stunned to see a mounted gentleman labeled, "Our Founder".

    Print Media 
  • One single panel cartoon by George Trosley shows a proud trophy hunter in his den, giving a tour to one of his friends. They stop in front of an ugly woman's head mounted on a wall plaque, and the hunter remarks, "Yeah, that's my ex-mother-in-law. Took six cartridges to bring that bitch down."

    Video Games 
  • In A Cannibal In Concord, Albert has mounted several raider heads on his wall.
  • Video Game/Creatures'': In the Docking Station stories, the Lone Shee is horrified to find that Grendels have filled a room with the mounted heads of deer-like Norns. He takes two of the heads to clone them and save their species, thus recreating the Fallow Norns.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, Mort the gravedigger has four heads mounted on his wall, one of which is human — but don't worry, three of them are fake.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, when her approval is high enough, Cassandra can be induced to tell the Herald of Andraste about her personal history. Her parents were on the wrong side of a rebellion against their distant cousin, the King of Nevarra; she and her brother were spared because they were innocent children, but the parents were beheaded. Supplemental material notes that their heads were displayed on pikes outside the royal palace for a time.
  • A particularly disturbing example in Dropsy: near the end of the game, Dropsy discovers the hideout of the person who started the fire that burned the circus down, and there are two heads mounted on the wall like trophies. The arsonist was the S-Corporation CEO, who is Dropsy's biological brother; he murdered his human stepfather and second brother on Christmas Day, and intended to murder Dropsy to ensure he would be next in line for their family's throne.
  • RuneScape: In the alternate timeline that the "Dimension of Disaster" quest takes place in (where the player character never existed and, as a result, most of the villains they've defeated were victorious in their ambitions), Zemoregal is revealed to have killed most of the game's "Signature Heroes"note  and had their heads stuffed and mounted in his bedroom. The head of the leader of the Godless faction, Kara-Meir, can also be found in a similar manner in his treasure room.
  • Valheim: The game encourages the display of trophies taken from enemies, usually heads. While it's not possible to take them from fellow humans, there's plenty of skeletons and zombies from which to choose. The flavor text even mentions that some of them keep talking after death.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: Mounted human heads, skins and other parts adorn the walls of Martha's family home in the very first episode. Even Moxxie, an imp from Hell, is horrified.

  • Isla Aukate: Harvey Torn, the half-demon stag prince of Aukate's criminal underworld, has a room filled with the mounted heads of animal people who crossed him. Though some of Foxena's supplemental pages reveal that most of them were child traffickers.
  • Kevin & Kell: Variant — R.L. keeps the trophy heads of his failed employees (who are all sapient, anthropomorphic animals) on the wall of his office. The strips from November 8 and 9 of 2010 reveal it's actually subverted when Kell finds out they're employees he fired and then rehired back as temps without benefits, who are only posing as trophy heads (which R.L. considered cheaper than actual taxidermy).
  • S.S.D.D.: The head of one particularly unpopular former First Adviser of the Collective of Anarchist States is mounted in their capital building's rec hall. Brought up when a later First Adviser demands the head of whoever programmed the nuke they'd just accidentally launched.
    The Oracle: Well, you're in luck then.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In "The League of Villains", Eustace suggests mounting Jimmy's head on a wall, which King Goobot finds too barbaric for his tastes.
  • Danny Phantom: Skulker mentions on several occasions that he wants to mount Danny's head on his wall.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In one Dial M For Monkey segment, Monkey faces an alien Egomaniac Hunter named Huntor who's favorite prey has always been "the mighty Hero!". While most of the trophies on his ship are standard alien monsters, one tropy is the stuffed body of a Flying Brick hero, and another, who's head is mounted on the wall, is an Expy of Wolverine.
  • The Ducktators: Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo are subjected to the avian equivalent of this trope, and this is presented as good triumphing over evil.
  • In an episode of The Flintstones where Fred and Barney have to spend the weekend in a haunted house with creepy servants who try to kill them, Fred hides by pretending to be a head mounted on the wall next to a row of mounted animal heads.
  • One cutaway gag in Family Guy has Peter imagining that Chris had his and Lois' head mounted on the wall. Set up to sing Hooked on a Feeling at clapping.
  • In Jumanji: The Animated Series, Omnicidal Maniac Van Pelt has mounted child heads in his hunting collection. And the African-looking masks are probably mounted Manjis, who are Ambiguously Human, too.
  • Private Snafu: At the end of "Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike", Malaria Mike has Snafu's head mounted on his wall above his fireplace.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson has a nightmare about Bart doing this to him (after a trip to the guillotine factory, which was the perfect place to shoot him) in the episode "Tennis the Menace."
    • One of the Halloween Specials features a story in which what seems to be the entire adult male population of Springfield is forced into a Deadly Game which involves Mr. Burns hunting them down and killing them. Their heads will be mounted on wall plaques at the Burns mansion.
    • In "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner", when Homer earns the rage of every restaurant owner in town due to his Caustic Critic reviews, a deli owner gets uncomfortable with the blood thirst of the others, and asks if they're chefs or murderers.
    Sea Captain: Does that answer your question?! *points to an empty plaque on the wall between a stuffed blue marlin and a stuffed swordfish, which clearly reads "Homer"*
  • Parodied in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Wet Painters", where Mr. Krabs hires SpongeBob and Patrick to paint his walls and threatens to cut off their butts and mount them over his fireplace if he finds even a drop of paint on something other than the walls. It turns out that even though Mr. Krabs said the paint was permanent, it actually comes off with saliva and he only lied about the paint being permanent to mess with the duo, who promptly leave incensed while Mr. Krabs undoes all the painting by spraying the walls with his spittle as he laughs hysterically.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In "Isnad Adventures", "Pure Protein" ends with four of the Titans befriending the Predator expy and wishing him luck on his journey, but then they realize they forgot about what happened to Robin, and the last shot before the credits is Robin's skull (including spikes for his hair) being turned into a Human Head on the Wall in the alien's Trophy Room.
  • Total DramaRama: While trying to work out how to catch a worm in "Hic Hic Hooray", Owen has a an Imagine Spot where he bites a worm on the end of a fishing line and ends up mounted on the wall like a trophy fish.
  • Villainous: While he's certainly not human, in the "Demencia wuz here" short you can see that Black Hat has the Beast's head mounted on the wall. And in a picture frame next to it is Steven's/Rose Quartz's/Pink Diamond's gem.

    Real Life 
  • Peter the Great used a variant of this after having his wife's secretary and chamberlain Willem Mons executed for embezzlement, albeit preserving the head in a jar of alcohol rather than mounting it on a wall. According to some reports, he even put the jar on display in his wife's bedroom—which is grimly appropriate given the rumors of an affair between her and Mons, though ironically, Mons was the brother of one of Peter's own mistresses.